— Life —

Chase Your Lion

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I  just finished reading In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson. It is based on a not-so-familiar Bible story about a young man named Benaiah who was confronted by a lion that threatened his life. However, unlike most of us who would have run the other way as fast as we could, Benaiah chased the lion into a pit and came out the victor. Instead of letting his fears get the best of him, Benaiah took a giant risk, not looking at how big his foe was, but claiming just how big his God was. He chased the lion into that trap with a simple spear, and provided a lesson in faith and courage that speaks volumes about how we should approach opportunities today.

How often have you been presented with an interesting opportunity but thought, “I don’t have….,” or “I am not……” or “I really can’t because….?” When have you run the other way in fear, instead of summoning up the courage to take a risk and slay your lion? Unfortunately we’ve spent so much of our lives focused on the reasons why we shouldn’t do things, we likely miss out on some amazing experiences.

Today I’m running toward a lion. It may not be life-threatening, but it scares the daylights out of me. I’m planning a trip to Uganda in July to visit two rural communities that have asked me to come speak to their women. Through opportunities only God could have orchestrated, I will be sharing my heart with women who are hungry to find significance in their lives. Just like you and me, they compare themselves to others and believe they are not enough. They have fear that holds them back from making positive changes in their lives, and they want to find peace and joy in the midst of oppressive life circumstances.

This is not a lovely weekend retreat for middle-class women in America. I’ll be headed to two small towns where electricity is spotty and where I’ll have to sleep under mosquito netting to avoid malaria. This is a totally new place for me to venture into, and I will run toward it–instead of making excuses about why I shouldn’t go–with every confidence God will bring me success.

When you are presented with a seemingly-risky opportunity in the future, what will you do?

Will you run like crazy the other way, or will you run toward the challenge with courage? Will you stay in your comfort zone, or take a big leap toward a new adventure? When you reach the end of your days, will you regret not chasing lions?

Mark Batterson says, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.” Here’s to big dreams and being scared! What a way to live and #makelifecount.

 

 


10 Comments

  • Jennifer Dekle Denton
    Reply Jennifer Dekle Denton April 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Yes!! Years ago I heard a parable about a lion and dealing with fear. It talked about how when lions hunt, they will sometimes send the oldest lions with the deepest and loudest roars to one side of the pack of animals they’re hunting, while the young hunters are on the other side. The old lions would roar, and the frightened animals would run directly into the mouths and claws of the waiting young hunters. Whether this is true or not, the lesson was: sometimes we have to run toward what we fear. I’ve always loved this.

    • Reply Susan Tolles April 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Jennifer, I am definitely running toward something that is a bit scary! But my excitement about being with the women in Uganda outweighs my imagination of what MIGHT happen, and likely will not. My, how sly the old lion was!

  • Reply Michele April 11, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Sometimes I run, but I am learning to be braver.

    • Reply Susan Tolles April 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Michele, I don’t think we are ever finished with learning! It’s a scary world out there, but we have to summon our courage and know that we are strong and resourceful. May you run toward your lions with courage!

  • Reply Ellen Dolgen April 11, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, Susan. This is incredible and I can’t wait to hear about your experience as you tame the lion by roaring even louder and energizing women from around the world. Keep roaring!

    • Reply Susan Tolles April 14, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Ellen, life has certainly been an adventure since we first met in NYC several years ago! I would have never dreamed I’d be at this place in my life, doing something that is so far outside my comfort zone. But that’s what keeps us vibrant and interesting, isn’t it? I am truly blessed.

  • Reply Cherie James April 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Susan, this is the first time I am reading your column, as I am a new style contributor to 1010. It is just the thing that I should be reading right now in my life. I was wavering between taking and not taking an opportunity that was presented to me. After your inspiring article, I am going to run toward the lion! Thank you. I know that you will come back from your trip a changed person, so well worth it for you and for the women that you will be speaking to. Can’t wait to hear about it. So nice to meet you.

    Cherie
    STYLE NUDGE
    http://www.stylenudge.com

    • Reply Susan Tolles April 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you, Cherie, and welcome to the 1010 Team! I am thrilled that you found inspiration in my story, and I hope to hear about your lion one day soon! It’s better to run toward our fears than to reach the end of our days with regret for running the other way. Charge on!

  • Reply Esther Zimmer April 12, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Susan, this is amazing! You’re such an inspirational woman and I’m pretty sure you will be moved by Uganda in ways a retreat could never move you. It’s an incredible country and the warmth of the people will leave an imprint on your heart. You’re doing such good work and will have such a positive impact on these women, I can’t wait to read about it! Safe travels, Esther xx

    • Reply Susan Tolles April 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Esther! I can hardly wait to get there, and I am sure the trip will make a big difference in my life, too. I have a friend who goes there three times a year, and has developed such a bond with the group I will be visiting. She started teaching 30 women how to make jewelry, and now there are over 100! I am looking forward to being a small part of their journey to find significance and joy in the midst of poverty.

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